In the business of opera, it is a given that a singer must focus on a myriad of things in preparation for an audition. Here’s the laundry list that you have probably heard over and over, that you need to pay attention to. First and foremost, the importance of a solid vocal technique; then thorough coaching, a set of arias that are well prepared and represent your fach and build dramatic interpretation, an excellent headshot, an up-to-date, clean and easily read resume packet, finding the right and appropriate outfit, and knowing it is ready to wear including shoes and accessories. Knowing how to feel comfortable as you enter the audition space and claim it as yours, before you interact with the audition panel is of paramount importance to the success of your audition as well. These are all very essential tools to have at your command. As complex as all these aspects may seem, it is likely that many of you have lost sight of a crucial element of the well-prepared audition: the audition music folder for you collaborator/accompanist.

So…please allow me to give you some pointers that will help your collaborator/accompanist be at his/her best, which will allow you to also be at your best.

  1. The most economical option for an “Audition” only folder is the standard one-inch, three-ring binder that holds only your audition arias. If you have more than the required 5, put them in the back of the folder with a separation that states clearly, additional arias. Put tabs on each aria with a legible title that is big enough to read. List in the front of the binder, either arranged by color or number, the coinciding tab on each aria.
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  2. Make one clean, double-sided copy and prepare it for the pianist folder. I cannot stress enough the words “clean” and “double-sided. Make sure all the notes on the each page are clear and readable.
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  3. The most common problem for a collaborator/accompanist is page turns. Most times, photocopying pages exactly as they appear in the score is the best solution. If page numbers are present on the copy they should be to the outside corners, away from where the binding would normally be. There are a small number of arias in the repertoire which are four pages or fewer. Example: “Va! laisse couler mes larmes.” Copy each page single-sided and totally eliminate the page turn by putting page 1 on the left side and page 2 on the right. In three- and four-page arias, using a “fold-out” technique similar to the point above makes it possible to have all pages visible to the pianist. If an aria begins on a right-hand or odd-numbered page, alleviate the first page turn by copying the first two pages as single-sided copies.
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  4. Using a red pen is a good way to mark certain things in a score that are not readily apparent such as: tempo fluctuations which are unusual or do not appear printed in the score, traditional musical/emotional moments, etc. Lightly underlining these indications draws attention to them. Also, mark where you will be taking breaths throughout the piece.
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  5. No plastic covers! No Staples!
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  6. When handing the collaborator/pianist your music, let them know if there are any particular parts of the aria where it needs special attention.

Become even more prepared and professional when presenting yourself to those you are auditioning for. Treating your collaborator/accompanist with this kind of respect and integrity goes a long way in our industry. And you will truly be representing your Personal Brand. Ciao until next time. Carol


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